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Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, May 13, 2013

Date published:
May 13, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Weening tumbles down Giro standings in rain-soaked day into Florence

    Pieter Weening and Matt Goss (Orica GreenEdge) at the Giro team presentation
    Article published:
    May 13, 2013, 5:38 BST
    Cycling News

    Former wearer of maglia rosa to refocus energy on stage victory

    After a solid first week at the Giro d'Italia, where he spent the majority of the time inside the top-20 and moved as high as ninth at the end of Stage 7 Pieter Weening appeared to be on track to deliver Orica GreenEdge a rare result in the general classification standings in just their fourth grand tour appearance. However, trailing in 8:42 behind the day's winner Maxim Belkov (Katusha) at the end of Stage 9 has seen those GC hopes dashed.

    Weening was never expected to ride for the overall classification in the first grand tour of 2013 but after a steady build-up and strong showing at the Ardennes classics, it was believed the former stage winner and wearer of the maglia rosa could post an overall classification result for the Australian ProTeam. It was in 2011, while riding for the Rabobank squad that Weening pulled on the pink jersey in Italy and while he has never been considered a real grand tour GC candidate, his opening week had been promising.

    When the Dutchman lost contact with the front group on the penultimate climb of Stage 9 it was apparent that he would lose a serious chunk of time by the conclusion of the 170km medium-mountain stage. Now, entering the rest day more than 10 minutes down on race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and in 38th-overall Weening will now target a stage win, according to sports director Neil Stephens.

    "On the second to last climb, Pieter just couldn't do it anymore," said Stephens on the team site. "He wasn't having a good day, and that's all there was to it. Unfortunately in this game, if you have a bad day on an easy day, you...

  • Giro d'Italia rider galleries

    Giro d'Italia leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) awaits the start of stage 9 in Sansepolcro
    Article published:
    May 13, 2013, 7:15 BST
    Cycling News

    Highlighting the very best from the Italian grand tour

    Many of the greatest moments in sport flash by too quickly to truly appreciate them. That one instant, a single second before a rider makes their move, the expression on the face can be missed in the blink of an eye. In stills the smallest detail which is seemingly invisible to the human eye, can be captured and saved forever. It's these exact moments that Cyclingnews seeks to showcase in the following rider galleries.

    The chosen riders from this year's Giro d'Italia have been selected based on their previous performances and expectations that have been bestowed upon them for the coming three weeks.

    The rider galleries will be updates following the completion of each stage and will include the following general classification contenders Bradley Wiggins (Sky Procycling), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and somewhat of a dark-horse Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) while defending champion Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin Sharp) has already attempted to shake-up his rivals with a seething attack on Stage 3.

    The Manx Missile, Omega Pharma – Quick-Step's Mark Cavendish pulled on the first maglia rosa in the 2013 edition and is the most reliable of all the sprinters to win again in the following weeks. Last year Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing Team) won the opening time trial and wore the maglia rosa until the Stage 4 team time trial. What the promising American will do this year is yet to be seen but expect him to be amongst a number of the bunch sprints.

    The first rider gallery is

  • Andreas Klier retires to become a team director at Garmin Sharp

    Andreas Klier (Team Telekom) on the podium in 2003
    Article published:
    May 13, 2013, 7:44 BST
    Cycling News

    German ends 17-year career

    After months of speculation Andreas Klier has retired as a professional cyclist and become a team director with Garmin Sharp. The move brings to an end Klier's 17-year-long racing career.

    "I had the honor of spending many years in the saddle and I have decided that now it is time for me to stop racing and to start a new role," said Klier. "In my mind and my heart I know this is the right decision for me, and I have been given the opportunity to move into a director role at Garmin Sharp. So now, I will stop racing with a big smile in my face and a lot of wonderful moments in my mind and look forward to the future."

    Klier forged a career as one of the most respected Classics riders of his generation and in the latter phase of his career became an integral part of Garmin's Classics line up. Earlier in his career he was able capable of competing for some of the biggest one day races in the calendar, wining Gent-Wevelgem in 2003 and finishing second behind Tom Boonen at the 2005 Tour of Flanders. He also won a stage at the Vuelta in 2007.

    He turned professional with Nurnberger in 1996 before moving to TVM - Farm Frites in 1999. Team Telekom then signed him in 2001, and he spent the next part of his career with the team as they evolved into Highroad. A move to the Cervelo TestTeam followed before his arrival at Garmin in 2011.

    "I had wonderful years as a professional. Together with my teammates, we won races, we lost races but above all we were always a team and we share memories that will last a life time. These are the moments I will never forget," continued Klier.

    "For me it is a new way of looking at the world of pro cycling. I have to start at Zero. I have to learn all the basics first; the A-B-C's of the director world. For the last 17 years, my race number has always been laid on my bed in my...

  • Orica GreenEdge down two after Tour of California opener

    Michael Hepburn (Orica - GreenEDGE)
    Article published:
    May 13, 2013, 8:35 BST
    Laura Weislo

    Hepburn, Beppu time cut on blistering stage in Escondido

    The overall plans of the Orica GreenEdge team were hampered on the opening stage of the Amgen Tour of California after two of its main helpers, Michael Hepburn and Fumiyuki Beppu along with Taylor Shelden of 5 Hour Energy/Kenda, finished outside the time limit on the 165.2km circuit in Escondido.

    The trio finished well outside the cut, which was nine per cent of the winner's time - Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM) came across the line in 4:31:33. They lost 36:59 after being distanced on the climbs of a very hot and difficult stage which featured three difficult ascents.

    The team's director Matt Wilson explained that Hepburn and Beppu struggled to cope with the extreme conditions - the temperatures reached well into the 90's Farenheit, and on the pavement was measured at over 100 - as well as the jet lag from their travel form Europe.

    "They had a really bad day, and a bad reaction to the heat. They've come from a really cold spring in Europe, where at its warmest was 20 degrees (Celsius) cooler than it was here today," Wilson said.

    "We're very disappointed, but hoping they're not coming down with something. [Hepburn] said he had some stomach problems during the stage, but that normally comes from drinking so much fluid during the race."

    The team did manage to keep its general classification contender, Cameron Meyer, up in the front group. He finished just behind Mitchell Docker in 19th place, and is only 16 seconds off of Westra's lead despite having suffered from a bout of food poisoning this week.

    "Our goals remain the same," Wilson said. "We have Michael Matthews here for the sprints, and Meyer for the overall, but we lost two key guys.


  • Nibali: Wiggins and Hesjedal are still dangerous Giro d'Italia rivals

    New maglia rosa wearer Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) at the stage 9 start line
    Article published:
    May 13, 2013, 9:41 BST
    Cycling News

    Sicilian on his first day in pink

    In spite of their travails on the road to Florence on stage 9 of the Giro d’Italia, maglia rosa Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) warned that Bradley Wiggins (Sky) and Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) remain among his chief rivals for final overall victory.

    A tentative Wiggins was distanced on the rain-soaked descent of the Vallombrosa and forced to endure a frantic chase while Astana set the pace on the front of the peloton. While Wiggins managed to claw his way back on, Hesjedal suffered a more substantial loss in the finale. Dropped on the climb of Fiesole, he lost 1:06 to Nibali on the day and slipped to 11th overall, 3:11 down.

    “Wiggins and Hesjedal are still the principal rivals along with [Cadel] Evans and [Michele] Scarponi. The Giro is long and anybody can have a bad day,” Nibali said afterwards. “Yesterday, Wiggins still went very well in the time trial and almost won it. Hesjedal was very good in the first week and he only struggled in the finale of the stage.”

    Nibali’s Astana team looked to control affairs at the head of the peloton for much of the day, and when they set the tempo on the way down the Vallombrosa, Wiggins was distanced at the rear of the bunch.

    Although Wiggins had already struggled on the final descent on stage 7 to Pescara, Nibali denied that Astana had gone to the front in a deliberate bid to put the Englishman under pressure.

    “We were pulling at the front and we had Vanotti doing a decent tempo, but my team car was a long way back and I didn’t know what was happening,” Nibali said afterwards. “I only realised that Wiggins was dropped when Vini Fantini-Selle Italia, BMC and Garmin came to the front and started pulling.”

    Wiggins eventually made...

  • Giro d'Italia shorts: Merckx calls Wiggins a novice, Abdujapaorov and broken bones

    Abdou's win on the Champs Elysées in 1995
    Article published:
    May 13, 2013, 11:51 BST
    Cycling News

    News round-up from the Giro rest day

    Betancur's bounces back but can't count for Belkov

    A lack of a working radio and a gutsy last minute acceleration ahead of Carlinson Pantano (Colombia) combined to see Carlos Alberto Betancur (Ag2R) celebrate for a win that was not, finally, his - given that Russia’s Maxim Belkov (Katusha) had already crossed the finishing line at Firenze some 40 seconds before on stage 9.

    Nonetheless, Betancur said he was “happy because a second place for me in a Giro stage is very important, too, for me.”

    “I broke away [from the bunch] looking for a stage win, but with no working radio, I thought everybody had been caught. Even so, this is a good result.”

    As for his take on the Giro in general, Betancur said he had seen “[Ryder] Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) having a crisis and [Bradley] Wiggins (Sky) in difficulty, and I’m convinced there’s a chance I’ll do something. I know that I’m six minutes down overall, but I can bounce back, there are a lot of climbs to come.”

    Vicioso out with broken bones

    While Katusha celebrated their second stage win of the race courtesy of Maxim Belkov, news filtered through of Vicioso's crash. Falling in the latter part of stage 9 the veteran was left with "three broken ribs, a wrist break and shoulder trauma on the left part and the cracking scapula and some other damages on the right side," the team confirmed.

    Despite the heavy fall the Katusha rider was able to finish the stage before being carted off to hospital.

    Merckx: Wiggins descends like a novice

    Five times winner of the Giro d'Italia, Eddy Merckx, has told Het Nieuwsblad that "It is incomprehensible how Wiggins descends," after the Sky leader suffered a crash on stage 7 and...

  • Candelario rides to another top-10 in Escondido

    Top choice for a successful finish today, Alex Candelario (Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategy)had a bit of bad luck with a flat as he was in the winning break on the last lap.
    Article published:
    May 13, 2013, 14:04 BST
    Pat Malach

    US domestic veteran hopeful of more chances

    Alex Candelario (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) added another result to his list of top-10 finishes at the Amgen Tour of California Sunday during the stage 1 field sprint in Escondido, crossing the line behind Garmin-Sharp's Jacob Rathe for seventh after stage winner Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM) sneaked away in the final kilometers with Francisco Mancebo (5-hour Energy-Kenda) to get the top two spots.

    A cramping Peter Sagan (Cannondale) won the bunch sprint for third ahead of Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) and Jasper Stuyven (Bontrager). Candelario - who has finished eighth three times in California; seventh twice; and fourth and fifth once each - may have been able to climb even higher in the final results on Sunday if he hadn't been so accustomed to sprinting on his own.

    "Today was the first day where I actually had a teammate there, Chad Haga, and unfortunately I'm not used to that scenario," said Candelario, who generally contests sprints on hard days when a group of 40 or 50 riders comes to the line. "So I didn't take full advantage of his power. But I think he's proven that he can do a proper lead out. So hopefully we'll get another chance this week."

    As the 51-rider main field approached the line, Haga said, he was sitting fourth wheel in the long string of riders. He was ready to make his final jump to propel Candelario to the finish, but when he checked his wheel his teammate was gone. Candelario had jumped onto Sagan's wheel, but he couldn't stick with the powerful Slovakian sprinter, winner of last year's points jersey in the Tour de France.

    Sunday's sprint was an odd finish after a tough day in the saddle for the riders, who dealt with temperatures topping 100 degrees Fahrenheit as they made their way over Mesa Grand, Mt. Palomar and Cole Grade in succession. A breakaway of four riders that escaped early in the day to provide the impetus for the...

  • Giro d'Italia: 10 conclusions from the opening week

    Bradley Wiggins (Sky)
    Article published:
    May 13, 2013, 14:37 BST
    Cycling News

    Evans and Nibali on the up as Hesjedal and Wiggins lose ground

    Can Wiggins and Sky change tack?

    This wasn’t in the script of “Project Giro”. The pre-race prognostics all suggested that Bradley Wiggins would be safely ensconced in the maglia rosa after the Saltara time trial, with his Sky team primed to defend a healthy overall lead through the final two weeks of the race.

    Instead, after struggling on the technical finales of week one – particularly, but not solely, on rain-soaked descents – and after failing to open the kind of time gaps he would have liked in the time trial, Wiggins unexpectedly finds himself on the back foot, with 1:16 to make up on Vincenzo Nibali (Astana).

    In Florence on Sunday, Sky manager Dave Brailsford vowed that Sky would be aggressive over the next two weeks, but while Sergio Henao (sixth at 2:11) Rigoberto Uran (9th at 2:49) are both men with a naturally attacking streak, Wiggins has operated almost exclusively on the defensive since his dramatic metamorphosis into a stage race rider in recent years.

    Can Wiggins really drop Nibali (not to mention Robert Gesink, Cadel Evans et al) in the mountains? Or, perhaps more to the point, given his stilted descending so far, is Wiggins destined to lose even more time in the array of technical descents that are still to come in this Giro? And even if the status quo holds until the Polsa mountain time trial, can Wiggins put significant time into an on-form Nibali, who performed so well at Saltara?

    Wiggins’ and Sky’s success in recent years has come largely from controlling races and then exerting their power in controlled environments such as time trials and evenly-graded summit finishes. On the narrow, twisting roads and...